Springing into Subtraction {freebies included}

Hey there!  I am getting this post up a little late in the year so I hope you’re still able to use a few of these ideas this school year 🙂  We seemed to have worked on addition a little longer this year than we have in the past…the kids were rockin’ and rollin’  I almost felt sad to move on to subtraction 😉  I was a little worried that working on addition longer would make the transition to subtraction hard, but it wasn’t at all!  It went really smooth this year!

I like to start with simple subtraction stories as a way to introduce subtraction.  We did a lot of role playing out simple subtraction problems by having students come up to the front of the room.  Below is a fun and interactive video for subtraction stories!  Our math series has a big book that also offers a visual for students to see.  For example, they could see that there were 5 apples in the tree and 2 apples fell off.  How many apples are left?

This adorable game and matching book comes from Miss Kindergarten Love’s Spring and Math Literacy Centers Packet  It is just another fun and hands-on way we practiced subtraction on the early days.
We played, 5 birdies in the tree!  I called out how many birds the students needed to remove each time and then I wrote the problem on the board for them to see.  They did very well with the hands-on and then seeing how that connected to what I wrote on the board.

After we worked with the birdies in the tree, we read and worked through this adorable matching book!

The following activity is another quick and easy way to practice subtraction.  The two students would work together.  Partner A would roll the number cube and tell Partner B to subtract that many.  10 take 2 is eight.

These cards are so much fun!  We did the same thing for addition and I was a little hesitant with the words, “take away”….but again they proved me wrong!  Partner A would continue to ask Partner B the problems until I said UH-OH SWITCH!  The partners would then switch cards with one another.

This is a fun hands-on subtraction activity I got from Tessa at Spotlight on Kindergarten!  I altered it just slightly the first time playing…giving the kids problems that were always taking away from 10…just to try and cut down on any confusion.  Since then we have been playing with random equations and they’ve done well!  This is a freebie you can find HERE.

On this day the students gave their partners subtraction stories…I saw 5 balloons and 3 popped..how many balloons are left?
I also had my students do a simple subtraction sticker story.  I gave each student 3 colored stickers and then they crossed out a certain number to make a simple subtraction problem.  See below for the freebie template!

Click  {HERE} for the freebie sticker story template!
For our introduction to subtraction we also brought in some known books/songs to correlate the concept!  The following is song, Ten in a Bed.  For this one I have my students put up ten fingers and they take one down each time a little guy falls out of bed!

We also used a favorite…Five Monkeys!!!!

Last but not least…we used Pete’s subtraction book!

So much of subtraction is best practiced through hands-on experiences. However, I do like to use a practice sheet at the end of math to make sure my kiddos are grasping the concept!  I put together this freebie packet for you!  Bless your little hearts for surviving the year! 🙂 🙂

We also started to work this week with number bonds and the correlation as to finding the missing number in the number bond!  I created these easy to follow practice sheets and the students have responded very well to them.  This is a guided sheet…where the student simply writes in the missing number in the equation.  I have the sheets differentiated in the packet so they can also fill in the entire equation themselves.

Click below to view the packet on TpT.  It sells for $4.00 and includes 34 pages.

We have also started subtraction word problems!  In my packets students show their answers using a picture, number line, equation, and answer statement!  The kids love these pages and have so much fun solving the word problems!  You can view all of my themed packets by clicking below…

Each day we start out our math lessons with these teacher subtraction story problem prompt cards!  The kids solve the problems with their partners and then we turn back to discuss!

You can view these problems by clicking below!

If you haven’t previously came across this video, it’s great one!  The kids beg for it!

The following video shows how to use objects to subtract!
The following video shows how to use the subtraction sign!

This is one of my kiddos favorite subtraction games!  It’s called Critter Junction!
The last part to our subtraction unit is fluency!  We have started our timed fluency tests and I am “quizzing” the kiddos their subtraction facts in the hallway before they go into the restroom.  It’s super important to remember that as part of the Common Core the students only need to be fluent within 5.  I only “quiz” them over facts to 5…we work on subtraction with 10 but not in a fluency fashion.
Click below to view my fluency tests for both addition & subtraction!

I will also be sending home a set of flash cards home for my kiddos!  I got my flash cards {HERE}.  They sell for $2.

And have no fear….summer is near!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing all of these great activities! What a gift for a teacher like me who is out of time and energy at this point in the year!! You're an angel. :0)

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